From the Dean
Surely this is a week that tests the Divine’s resolve to forgive, hallow, and bless. God’s Son, our Savior, was executed by Roman state authorities. The tragedy of Christ’s innocent blood (however shed for our saving) might well have forced civil authorities in every era to reconsider the use of the death penalty. But August 9and the execution of Billy Irick by the State of Tennessee approaches relentlessly.
Candles lit at vigils this week seeking a miraculous stay of Irick’s scheduled execution on Thursday must burn as much in memory of his victim, seven-year-old Paula Dyer, as an indignant rebuke of the State’s prerogative. The horror of Paula’s murder must never wane. Yet still, to murder the murderer — ‘an eye for an eye’/‘a life for a life’ — will neither restrain the savage impulse of another criminal nor model for society the respect that Life itself would otherwise demand.
The work to Proclaim, Seek, and Serve the Gospel of Jesus Christ, a work central to the identity of the community that gathers at Christ Church Cathedral in Nashville, a work shared by Christians far and wide, requires that our voices be raised in solidarity with those who would put an end to the cycle of violence, in solidarity with those who would lead with forgiveness, and in solidarity with those who would assert that the image of God is reflected in every human being, bar none.
Pray tonight for Governor Haslam. Pray for Billy Irick. Pray for the prison officials and wardens assigned the responsibility of carrying out Irick’s execution. Pray for the repose of the soul of Paula Dyer and the consolation of her family. Pray tonight, not just to God but for the God we know named as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The Trinity’s resolve to forgive, hallow, and bless must not be so challenged that we forget that land where “death will be no more” (Revelation 21:4).
Dean & Rector
Christ Church Cathedral